Winter is here and with that comes shorter days, cold nights, and less opportunity to get outdoors. For some, winter can also mean the onset of mood swings and a type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Sometimes called ‘winter depression’, SAD follows a seasonal pattern. Symptoms typically increase over the winter, peaking in December through February, and finally easing-off in spring. SAD is often linked to the reduced exposure to sunlight, and manifests as low mood, lack of energy, low self-esteem and irritability.
The theory is that short days and darkness affect the brains’ ability to balance the production of Melatonin; the hormone that makes you feel sleepy, and Serotonin; the hormone that affects mood, appetite and sleep. For those with severe symptoms, advice should be sought from your primary healthcare practitioner. But for those with milder symptoms, making some lifestyle changes can really help.
how to boost your mood naturally
1. Get more natural sunlight. Spend time outside and make the most of those sunny mornings when you can. Keep your home and workspaces as light and bright as possible.
2. Take a walk. The benefits of exercise are well documented, but it can be particularly beneficial to those suffering from mild to moderate seasonal depression. Try walking outdoors to make the most of the daylight. If you have fallen out of the habit of exercising, gradually build it back into your day-to-day routine. Even a brisk 15 minute walk or getting off the bus one stop early will help clear your head and boost your mood.
3. Don’t eat take-aways. Eat a balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and veg, and keep an eye on your sugar intake. Sugar is rarely held to account for the havoc it wreaks on our overall health and wellbeing. Alcohol is also a depressant, so it’s worth keeping an eye on how much and how ofter you drink. Check out these healthy foods, which also support healthy skin.
4. Add a probiotic. New theories are emerging that state changes in our microbiome, which is the collection of bacteria that live in various parts of the body, (mainly the gut), may play a role in our mental health. Specifically, there may be a link between unhealthy gut flora, and increased anxiety or depression. We’ve found the best way to maintain a healthy gut flora is by eating live, fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. If you have to Google “kombucha”, check out this informative article by Liz Connor, covering everything you need to know about the gut health buzzword.
5. Build in some me-time. Despite our best intentions, we can’t all start each day with Yoga or get a weekend break to the spa. However, you can still put yourself in the diary twice a day. Spending extra time on your skin when you’re feeling low is a great way to nurture your feminine spirit. Using healthy products, and incorporating mindful aromatherapy into your everyday beauty routine is an easy way to feel healthy and good about yourself.
To get the most from our aromatherapy cosmetics, apply them with intention. Warm the product in your hands, inhale the nourishing aroma, then slowly pat and press with a slight sweeping motion, starting with the driest parts of your face. Use light pressure to help stimulate blood flow. Take slow, concentrated breaths. The deep breathing relieves tension in the body, while the grounding scent helps to relax the mind. See The Aromatherapy Range